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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This book presents various issues surrounding the assessment, treatment, and litigation of suicide. Clinical vignettes illustrate practices useful in clinical settings and assist in driving home points in the section labeled "Clinically Based Risk Management" ending each chapter.
Purpose: Written "by a clinician for clinicians" evaluating and treating patients at risk for suicide, this book presents basics for clinical practice in the evaluation and management of a vast and varied population.
Audience: Geared for clinicians, this book will be beneficial for individuals charged with the delicate task of assessing another's risk for suicide. It may be especially useful for those in training to develop more comprehensive assessments of patients at risk for suicide.
Features: Divided into eight chapters, the book addresses topics such as suicide contracts and malpractice litigation as well a focusing on subsets of patients, both inpatient and outpatient. Each chapter contains a case example designed to highlight information presented in the text. In addition, each chapter ends with the bulleted list of "Clinically Based Risk Management" points to ensure the reader has absorbed relevant information.
Assessment: Condensing the immense amount of literature on this subject into one book, while ensuring it maintains its clinical focus, proves quite challenging. Yet, Dr. Simon imparts his vast clinical experience and keen forensic knowledge in a book that is both readable and educational. Clinically sound advice is offered with the caveat not to infer his methods are considered "standard of care" in the field. For maximum clinical benefit, it might be helpful if future editions include a chapter on how to manage the wealth of information and time needed in an assessment of a suicidal patient with the increasing time constraints placed on clinicians in all settings. Nonetheless, Dr. Simon's book will prove valuable to mental health practitioners, whether seasoned veterans or new trainees to the field.